LGBTQ Legal Issues

Texas judge blocks investigations of parents of transgender kids throughout the state

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A judge in Travis County, Texas, has blocked state officials from investigating parents for child abuse solely because they obtain gender-affirming medical treatments for their transgender children.

Judge Amy Clark Meachum issued a statewide temporary injunction Friday and set a July 11 trial date.

Law360, the Texas Tribune and the New York Times are among the publications with coverage.

The injunction is broader than Meachum’s March 2 order blocking an investigation of the plaintiffs in the case.

Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott directed the state’s child protective agency last month to investigate parents who provide treatments to their transgender children, such as puberty-suppressing drugs, hormones and sterilization. Abbott acted after Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released an opinion saying such treatments can constitute child abuse.

The state has opened nine investigations since Abbott’s Feb. 22 directive, according to the Texas Tribune.

Meachum’s order said parents can’t be investigated or referred for prosecution for providing gender-affirming care, and the state can’t impose reporting requirements on others who are aware of the medical treatments.

Meachum said Abbott’s order and investigations by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services “violate separation of powers by impermissibly encroaching into the legislative domain.”

The plaintiffs in the case are anonymous parents Jane and John Doe and a psychologist who said Abbott’s directive violates her ethical obligations. The Jane Doe parent is an employee of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services who risks losing her job because of her teenager’s transgender treatments.

The psychologist, Megan Mooney, testified Friday that Abbott’s order would lead to greater depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts among transgender youths, according to Law360.

Paxton said Friday he planned to appeal.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the plaintiffs by the law firm Baker Botts and by the groups Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, the ACLU’s Jon L. Stryker and Slobodan Randjelović LGBTQ & HIV Project and the ACLU Women’s Rights Project.

“The court’s decisive ruling today brings some needed relief to trans youth in Texas but we cannot stop fighting,” said Brian Klosterboer, an ACLU of Texas attorney, in a March 11 press release. “All trans young people deserve to live freely as their true selves.”

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